32 St. George at LAMB announces new installation of Colombian designer Lucia Echavarria’s debut furniture collection

Lucia Echavarria’s Magnetic Midnight Maison: A personal anthology of Colombian craft is a collection of over 120 one-of-kind, handmade pieces, which culminates after 3 years of research by the designer into traditional Colombian craft aesthetics and techniques. Echavarria’s 32 St. George at LAMB installation, which is situated in the heart of Mayfair, showcases the work of over 80 artisans across 10 regions in Colombia who specialise in more than 12 distinct crafting styles and methods.

Fascinated by the material culture of her home country, Echavarria’s project has evolved from her exploration of artisanal practices. The result is an anthology of Colombian craft, where visitors are invited to move freely within the space to experience the practical utility and visionary design aesthetics of Echavarria’s furniture. Through close collaboration with 32 St. George at LAMB and its founder Lucinda Bellm, Magnetic Midnight Maison will be a yearlong installation at the gallery. The collection will be accompanied by a catalogue designed and published by Mestiza Estudio and photographs by Tinko Czetwertynski, delving into the processes and influences of Colombian craft on Echavarria’s collection debut.

Echavarria is the founder and designer of Magnetic Midnight, a lifestyle brand of statement pieces that reflect a unique aesthetic imbued with a love for tradition and craftmanship. Echavarria elaborates on her creative ethos and the motivations behind her brand and its aesthetic:

“I have always loved artisanal objects – they are a true material representation of a country’s traditions. I have known and worked with many of the artisans for several years, and it is always an incredible experience working alongside them, learning in more depth about the processes behind the techniques and the materials as well as their own personal stories. Colombia has an immensely rich history and such beautiful crafts, I really wanted to showcase the workmanship and talent that is so intrinsic to the country’s culture. It is such a special legacy that we have, and therefore important to find ways to preserve and celebrate it. Being able to present all these crafts in dialogue with one another at the gallery is amazing, and for me, furniture is a whole new canvas on which to explore the possibilities and show the incredible diversity of artistry that Colombia has”.

Lucia Echavarria
Lucia Echavarria, Werregue Side Tables. Photo by Tinko Czetwerynski. Image courtesy of the artist and 32 St. George at LAMB.
Lucia Echavarria
Lucia Echavarria, Tamo Table Lamp. Photo by Tinko Czetwerynski. Image courtesy of the artist and 32 St. George at LAMB.

From chairs, sofas and ottomans, to lamps, tables, screens and backgammon boards, Magnetic Midnight Maison illuminates the artisanal practices and rich heritage of Colombian techniques, including straw marquetry, werregue weaving and Sikuani wood carving. With these techniques paired with Echavarria’s modern practical approaches and intricate design style, the collection forms a truly unique body of work which explores pattern and material, in a titillation between tradition and modernity. Techniques used in conventional furniture making, such as wrought iron, carpentry and inlay, are juxtaposed with traditional Colombian crafts. The art of inlay and the 18th century Italian pietra dura marble ‘specimen’ tables are explored through werregue and wood, creating them with varying designs and patterns using woven palm fibres. Similarly, the patchwork present in both the Ghanaian Kente cloth and American quilts emerge in Echavarria’s work as patterns woven from cañaflecha palm.

Drawing heavily upon on her artisanal collaborators to create her designs, Echavarria’s straw marquetry lamps are a prime example of the deep-rooted research that informs her practice. Imbued with craft traditions from Pasto, one of the oldest cities in Colombia, Echavarria transforms the Colombian straw marquetry technique ‘enchape de tamo’ to incorporate Italian design influences. The ‘Enchape de tamo’ process consists of inlaying individual fibres from the stalk of a wheat plant on wooden surfaces to create decorative patterns. Echavarria’s reverence of the infinite patterns and textures created by the delicate straw strips when assembled, culminates in her deployment of the adeptness of this material to mirror others, like a trompe l’oeil or Italian marbleized paper. The tamo lamps speak to how Magnetic Midnight Maison respectfully plays on tradition and evolution, by upholding and honouring the materials and techniques and combining them in new and surprising ways.

Ultimately, the collection finds inspiration in the intrinsic beauty of craft, its manual production processes and the diversity of materials and techniques used to facilitate them. Echavarria’s deep respect and understanding of the history and cultural significance of each craft, and the people and communities that have kept them alive over time, enables her designs to embrace the traditional motifs and patterns of the applied technique whilst staying true to their provenance.

Art Martin Cid Magazine
Art Martin Cid Magazine
News about art, exhibitions, museums and artists around the world. An international view of the art world.
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